‘But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations’ (Psalm 33:11).
Visiting Australia from Malaysia, we were reminded of this verse as we marvelled at and soaked in the rich heritage of the early Lutherans, who migrated to South Australia and established families, churches and schools on the bedrock of deep Christian faith.
Our group, which included Bishop Aaron Yap of Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) and Lutheran Education Malaysia (LEM) Board members and their spouses, visited LCA ministries in Brisbane and Adelaide for a week recently, thanks to LCA International Mission.
The objective of the visit was to better understand the Christian Studies’ framework within Lutheran schools in Australia. We plan to make the initial step of providing an early childhood education system in Malaysia, which we can then expand across Lutheran churches. We view this as an outreach ministry to the community.
During the visit, an updated Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Lutheran Education Australia (LEA) and LEM, represented by Associate Professor Lisa Schmidt and Dato Dr Goh Kian Seng respectively, and witnessed by LCA Bishop John Henderson and Bishop Yap.
Visiting Lutheran kindergartens, pre-schools, primary schools and colleges in Australia was an eye-opener and amazing experience for us. What came across strongly when we met principals, teachers, pastors and staff members of LEA was their passion for teaching and their active engagement with students. Christian faith is internalised and demonstrated in Lutheran schools in Australia, which is increasingly important today.
We can appreciate all of the hard work that it takes behind the scenes to provide consistency across schools, with LEA, the LCA, Australian Lutheran College and the LLL all playing critical roles in their areas of expertise. It has been encouraging to see how through wonderful stewardship, the LLL has been able to extend financial support to a wide range of ministries, both locally and internationally. We are grateful, too, for the resources available through LCA’s Grow Ministries.
We praise God for the church congregations and members we met, and the way in which women’s, men’s and youth ministries spread and express God’s love. There were examples of truly awesome enthusiasm and zeal for the Lord!
As we reflect upon our visit, we see how Lutheran units working together make a tremendous contribution to the families and community at large.
May the Lord bless you richly as you perpetuate the legacy of the early founders, benefitting many generations to come.
There will be follow-up discussions with the LCA as we put our plans into action. We pray that, with God’s guidance, we can be a blessing to our communities, as you have been.
Ivy Peng is a member of the Lutheran Education Malaysia Board.